A couple of good concepts are mutualism (which suggests one can trade a good/service for another of the kind without the need for unfair capital exchanges e.g. if a doctor wants some food he can exchange that good for the service of fixing a broken arm of the farmer or any other instance where both parties benefit and money doesn’t have to change hands; there is also the idea that the social construct of money leads to being a catalyst for many negative ‘human’ trait manifestations such as the theory that greed and competition as we know them are socially generated and divert humans from their true nature. There’s also useful tenets from Anarcho Capitalism, Libertarianism, negative and positive freedom, Feminsism, Marxism, and Constructivism.
Here’s a couple more ideas for potential policy shifts:
- A LITURGY: I have had this idea for a while now, honest, but I recently found out (whilst reading the Melian Dialogue, worth a look because even relatively bad, subjectively, theories have some noteworthy points; don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater and all) that the Ancient Greeks had this concept run pretty effectively too. It’s essentially a voluntary contribution to tax. As ‘heart-bleed’ Liberal this sounds I would genuinely donate because much of the right wing pessimism is slightly justified by “but where’s the money coming from” for progressive left-wing ideas. This voluntary tax could be admined by a NGO and re-invested in schools, healthcare, extracurricular activities or youth clubs, art funds or preservation areas and any other helpful contribution to society which happens to be costly or is not a priority to the current govenment and so is subject to cuts.
- Encouraging reading, literature and the role of libraries. Further schemes could involve government subsidies to even mainstream bookstores like Waterstones to encourage working class kids to read more; as a friend once said “reading is like the people of a past generation passing down their wisdom”. Newspapers could be promoted through adverts/promotion on gov.uk and you can also learn a lot through art forms like novels, CDs and films about yourself and the world you live in,
- Positive role models for all members of society; on an estate it can be easy to loose sight or over-emphasise immoral or unproductive behaviour but if you look up to others who have handled the situation better or others who are perfecting their craft then you can be inspired: this can be in the form of guest speakers coming into schools or carefully vetting celebrities; some of the great inspirations I had the privellege of learning from include George the Poet, local MPs, authors, tech company owners, and several truely motivational teachers and hip hop artists’ interviews like Jay Z, who had a particularly good q & a with Warren Buffet.
- Manouevre the national curriculum: arguably the most influential body of academia in the nation because it shapes how the next generation view the world. It has come along way and could perhaps respond to calls for more practical skills like tax-paying, job-seeking and other roles of being an adult in a potentially more extensive PSHE subject for one improvement and extra teacher training on motivating, inspiring and emphasising how the skills learnt in the classroom are transferable and can be applied practically.
- More direct democracy, much much more. And more on issues that directly affect citizens. Representatives represent us not the other way round but one problem is the House of Commons is predominantly white middle class male so one could question just how representative they are or, more significantly, whom they do or do not represent. A way around this would be direct democracy, in the form of referendums, on for instance the Syria airstrike because UK citizens are deployed and employed in the bombing yet UK citizens did not have a say and the MPs have some vested interests in trade, international relations with neighboring states, and UK companies which are involved in the profitable business of bomb manufacturing.
- Culture: a tricky one but I believe a grassroots shift is worth considering. For now I’ll leave the food for thought at competiton: many people who “make it” try to be stingy/hold onto their wealth cautiously and selfishly/ don’t share help/forget their past/treat others as inferior due to the subtle but notable effect money has on human emotions and power politics. You can be a role model and positive break to the mould because we all ackowledge making money’s hard but that can make you more grateful you found your niche and more encoruaged to bring others with you on your journey
- Value not price could be conveyed through legislative moves too; a tax for mums is the current vague idea my friends n i decided on to give mums a wage as it were to give them financial independence and show society is not belittling their huge contribution and also that it does not have to always be job n money as priorities: the tax could be paid for a year after maternity leave or if mums choose to look after their children for longer than a Pariliamentary set time period allocated for nurture and care. Moreover, in an ideal world this tax could be paid permanently to mums and even those whom see the value and honour in motherhood as taking up so much of their life that there isn’t room or desire for another full time job. Also, encouragement, subsidies, awareness of, and better supply of nannies could make them more affordable and ease some of the stress for new parents in particular. So that both of the couple can go back to work afterward or otherwise ensure the baby is not a skism in their progress.
- A slightly regulated, and more proportionate wage market such as having a minimum amount one can earn as a living wage to allow people to live comfortably within their means: to combat the idea a starving man is not free; how can one go about career attainment and societal contribution or self growth and fulfillment when they’re thinking pay check to pay check and are subsisting but the variation of subsistence and family comprimise means somtimes the poorer of society are too hungry to focus on anything but eating – it has regularly been seen through empirical data on the link between nurishment and brain functon; one of the reason why the charity magic breakfast are sick. Check em out here: http://www.magicbreakfast.com. And, in terms of proportionately, regulations could come in the form of enforcing what we as a collective deem fitting for contribution, workload, stress, responsibility, difficulty etc hence potentially capping investment bankers’ pay and taxing bonuses.(that’s where the money’s coming from ;))
- Charitable and ethical consumer choices; busninesses grow, largely, due to demand for their products. Think about what you spend on, the effect the goods have on you and others, and then rethink them and where you could save/cut back in order to channel into either a more worthwhile good from a business in a different industry or a charity or non-profit being well researched resulting in your donation to proactively tackle poverty or other societal issues. Charities are a key non-governmental actor that can enact and encourage societal change; do your research into which causes are best, have a funding gap, have proven empirical data of their impact, and ones where you feel society is most needing such as cancer research being prominent due to many losing loved ones and cancer now being diagnosed in 1 in 2 people.
- Shorter, more humane, working hours and conditions: more hours for family/friends/leisure/sport/recreation/work-life balance and better conditions and looking after employees eg provide food/drink refreshment (could be afforded by re-distribution and slight regulation involving managers making slightly less to give more to people further down the corporate ladder), a living wage, slowed or prevented inflation unless wages rise accordingly with it, regulation and protection of the housing market to encourage building affordable houses, getting 1st time buyers onto the property ladder through savings not loans, prevent immoral or opportunistic landlords exploiting consumers.
- Lower population rates n family planning: less people per household means, even with lower income, there is more resources (spread out between less people; £10 between 2 is £5 but £10 between 4 is just £2.50. So it is recommendable to have less children (1 or 2 which is often the norm in developed societies) would arguable counteract phenomenon troubling modern democracies like overcrowding, peak oil, food crises, and sustainable/longevity of fuels or electricity. Also, less children prevents socio-cultural problems between both siblings and parents: in cases of large households it is arguably difficult for parents to provide adequate time and attention to each child, and children can essentially become ‘parents’ of their younger children so to promote psychological and spatial harmony one or two children are ideal. Two could perhaps be the perfect number because there are numerous studies suggesting having a sibling promotes altruism and only childs can be attention seekers.
- Widening of society and norms: people should be less judgmental of people from poorer backgrounds or ‘criminals’ because there appears to be a hypocritical idea that people should ‘start from the bottom/work their way up’ but then have their past held against them and assumptions made that they’re more violent or prone to crime due to the past or where they grew up. Accents reflect the past, not the future. Moreover, one must understand the root cause of crime not just the individual doing it: sometimes socio-economic conditions force one to make ends meet and literally eat (buy food and electricity etc; no choice but to do that) hence there should be more focus on creating jobs, access to them and less stigma or punishment for crimes where people have few options. A cornered man is dangerous. And, in the case of institutions like universities they are ‘used’ to white upper middle class people being the centre of the student body so the culture, nights out, jokes, even security policies can reflect a bias. Get used to the idea that second-genereation immigrants can and will ‘make it’ or be educated.
- A smoother transition between making it and made it: perhaps schemes funding expenses, not just education costs, so that people from less well off neighborhoods can assimilate into the higher education institutes they earn their way into so they blend in with other students and can enjoy a similar lifestyle because it can be problematic if your in a reputable institute with a light wallet: beer budget in a champagne-drinking 6thform.
- Training (skills are vital in tertiary sector employment & todays knowledge economy) and second chances for young people/adults): One good scheme of the current government is apprenticeships: many have been cut with prestigious profitable TNCs or national companies and provide young people valuale experience, they learn (& get paid on the job https://www.gov.uk/topic/further-education-skills/apprenticeships find out more here) and then the person has high likelihood of landing the job because a the company know them and b they have practical, not just theoretical, experience.
- Loans/grants to small businesses (if u see a gap in the market u should be able to go for it right? With banks lending less the government could do more to combat monopolies and encourage funding to spark fruition of an idea) starting small can still lead to employment as the entreupeneur grows the start up, impacts the local community, makes money and more tax and thus can pay back the loan and government, and provides a more unique, hands-on approach to customer service than most multi-nationals provide. Moreover, funding for students should be a priority as they attempt to better their life and learning at any age should be supported because it teaches skills, the virtue of patience, and when chosen cautiously a degree can set the individual up with the foundation for good engagement with both society and a company that considers their employment. This is also a key way in which social mobility occurs. And, I think there can be a subtle knock-on effect – if one person goes to uni they will tell and share their experiences.
- Feel free to comment/email us more ideas
My current compromise between theoretical utopianism and practical or pragmatic co-existance involves many ideas which could definitely improve society currently, but some may also be prerequisites for changing the entire system of Capitalism and Liberal Democracy. This paradigm shift could draw upon the wealth re-distribution idea from Socialism and Welfare Liberalism (to help mitigate the historical, for instance colonial, injustices regarding wealth and Western/non-Western divides in quality of life. This could be, for example, through, taxation becoming slightly higher to fund infrastructure which allows talented and bright individuals access and means to utilise their potential, such as through quality schools or building more of them to reduce state sectors classroom size, incentives like monetary teacher salary subsidies from government, or private bodies, funding private school bursaries, more internships, more skill focused training to improve and remove the need for extremely low skilled/mundane jobs.)
Another school of thought with healthy additions to a pluralist society is Anarchism. It is commonly misunderstood: anarchy refers to the absence of government yet the controversial idea often receives bad press and media images have cumulatively created the image of riots and violence as automatic connotations for much of the public. In actuality, many anarchists are peaceful and are desiring a new political system. Some of the best points of anarchy summarised involve: a highly cautious and contended view of authority: especially people who currently wield it for instance the government (whom we have no choice but to condone, for instance the moment a baby is born they are logged into state systems by a government name and are essentially forced into choice, as long as it is choice within Liberal Democracy, between different models of Capitalism and Liberalism.) Then there are the police, anarchist theorists have suggested the state sometimes creates/over-emphasises security or other forms of threats in order to prove they do have a need or use: terrorism is a contemporary example where governments and their influence on media sensationalise the fear of external threats and the public are led to believe their government’s monopoly of violence is the only solution to rid us or protect us of these evils. In actuality counter terrorism has regularly had success when non-military action has been taken but that’s a post for another time. There is also the brilliant theoretical contribution of a TAZ which basically involves highlighting human nature is truely good because anarchists suggest light can seep in through the darkness of even oppressive capitalism; an example of a recent TAZ is a person whom paid for everyones’ parking tickets on the whole road: people questioned how and why someone could be so kind with such an expensive thing to such a degree that it made them rethink concepts of money, value, communal living, and kindness or compassion.
Thanks for reading, hope u enjoyed